The world of the samurai - the legendary elite warrior cult of old Japan - has for too long been associated solely with military history and has remained a mystery to the general reader. In this exciting new book, Stephen Turnbull, the world's leading authority on the samurai, goes beyond the battlefield to paint a picture of the samurai as they really were. Familiar topics such as the cult of suicide, ritualised revenge and the lore of the samurai sword are seen in the context of an all-encompassing warrior culture that was expressed through art and poetry as much as through violence. Using themed chapters, the book studies the samurai through their historical development and their relationship to the world around them - relationships that are shown to persist in Japan even today.From the Hardcover edition.
From the 11th century AD, East Asian armies made increasing use of exploding missiles and siege cannon to reduce the fortifications of their enemies. Some of these weapons were very similar to those used in Europe - for example, the heavy siege cannon used in the siege of P'yongyang during the Japanese invasion in the late 16th century. Others, like the Korean hwach'a carts mounting over a hundred rockets that were used to bombard the Japanese at Haengiu in 1593, were very different from their European contemporaries. This book details the design and use of the wide range of weaponry available during this period.
By 1400 the long running conflict between the Order of Teutonic Knights and Poland and Lithuania was coming to a head, partly as a result of the Order's meddling in the internal politics of its neighbours. In June 1410 King Wladislaw Jagiello of Poland invaded the Order's territory with a powerful allied army including all the enemies of the Teutonic Knights - Poles, Lithuanians, Russians, Bohemians, Hungarians, Tartars and Cossacks. This book recounts how, when the armies clashed on the wooded, rolling hills near the small village of Tannenberg, the Teutonic Knights suffered a disastrous defeat from which their Order never recovered.
Towards the end of the 16th century three outstanding commanders brought Japan's century of civil wars to an end, and even though reunification was first achieved under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it was his successor Tokugawa Ieyasu who was to ensure a lasting peace. In terms of his strategic and political achievements Ieyasu ranks as Japan's greatest samurai commander. His battlefield prowess, however, needs careful consideration before accolades are offered, because Ieyasu was undoubtedly a lucky general. Mikata ga Hara, for example, was a defeat that the onset of winter saved from being a rout. Ieyasu's crowning victory at Sekigahara depended very much on the defection to his side of Kobayakawa Hideaki, and the absence from the scene of Ieyasu's son Hidetada serves to illustrate how just once there was a failure in Ieyasu's otherwise classic strategic vision. Yet Ieyasu possessed the particular wisdom of knowing who should be an ally and who was an enemy, and he was gifted in the broad brush strokes of a campaign. He also knew how to learn from his mistakes.Ieyasu was also patient, a virtue sadly lacking in many of his contemporaries, and unlike Hideyoshi never outreached himself. To establish his family as the ruling clan in Japan for the next two and a half centuries was abundant proof of his true greatness.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi: The Background, Strategies, Tactics and Battlefield Experiences of the Greatest Commanders of Historyby Giuseppe Rava Stephen Turnbull
Arguably the greatest military commander in the history of the samurai, Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose from the ranks of the peasantry to rule over all Japan. A student of the great unifier Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi would later avenge the murder of his master at the battle of Yamazaki. After consolidating his position, Hideyoshi went on the offensive, conquering the southern island of Kyushu in 1587 and defeating the Hojo in 1590. By 1591, he had accomplished the reunification of Japan. This book looks at the complete story of Hideyoshi's military accomplishments, from his days as a tactical leader to his domination of the Japanese nation.
Arguably the greatest military commander in the history of the samurai, Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose from the ranks of the peasantry to rule over all Japan. A student of the great unifier Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi would later avenge the murder of his master at the battle of Yamazaki.
The walls of Constantinople are the greatest surviving example of European medieval military architecture in the world. They withstood numerous sieges until being finally overcome by the artillery of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, and exist today as a time capsule of Byzantine and Medieval history. This book examines the main defensive system protecting the landward side of the city, which consisted of three parallel walls about 5 miles long. The walls defended the city against intruders, including Attila the Hun, before finally being breached by European knights during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and, ultimately, destroyed by Turkish artillery in 1453.
In 1467 the Onin War ushered in a period of unrivalled conflict and rivalry in Japan that came to be called the Age of Warring States or Sengoku Jidai. In this book Stephen Turnbull offers a masterly exposition of the Sengoku Jidai, detailing the factors that led to Japan's disintegration into warring states after more than a century of peace; the years of fighting that followed; and the period of gradual fusion when the daimyo (great names) strove to reunite Japan under a new Shogun. Peace returned to Japan with the end of the Osaka War in 1615, but only at the end of the most violent, turbulent and cruel period in Japanese history.
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